Doing market research for your small business doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It’s as simple as asking and listening.
With these methods, you can easily figure out which types of products your audience is looking for (without waiting for inspiration to strike).
As a small business owner, you rely on your creative energy. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s as absent as Ferris Bueller.
Some days (the best days) you’re filled to the brim with inspiration and you have tons of ideas. But you’ve got to narrow it down. How do you pick out the best ones?
Other days, you just feel drained and you can’t even find one good idea to save your life.
Here are some ways to get you through those uninspired days (plus a tip for narrowing down your ideas for the days when you have too many).
See what’s trending on social media.
Browse through the Instagram explore page. It will show you posts that did very well in terms of engagement. This is a great place to find inspiration. The bar across the top lets you narrow down what you want to see by topic.
You can also scroll through your Instagram feed. See what your followers are posting about.
This works really well for me in my own business. Even though I don’t create my own products (I’m an online bookseller), I can see which books my followers are talking about, and which authors or genres are popular.
If you partner with social media influencers (also known as brand representatives), they can be a great source for ideas. They know your brand well, and you already know they’re interested in the type of products you sell.
Pinterest is the creator’s dream. It’s chock full of colors, art, and beautiful photography. Type in a hashtag like #colorschemes or #crafts. Or, search for boards users have created & filled with their favorite products. Seriously, this platform is a gold mine for ideas.
Pinterest is also where people go to search for their next purchase, so why not check out what they’re looking for?
Use the Pinterest search bar (at the top of your Home feed) to see what people are searching for. Start typing one word, and you’ll see suggestions appear to complete the phrase. These suggestions are based on exact search terms people have used.
Click on a few of them to get an idea of which products people are most excited about. You may even find a topic or type of product that hasn’t been tapped into yet!
I’ve also created some boards on Pinterest to help inspire you, where I curate pretty pins of color inspiration, patterns + prints, and graphics & design. (Yes, I’m aware I have a weird obsession with pineapples. I’m sure I’m not the only one…)
Ask your followers.
These are people who are already interested in your brand and love what you create! This is the perfect audience to ask for ideas or get feedback.
On Instagram, toss up a post or story asking people what they’d be excited to see next. You can even use a poll to gauge people’s interest in particular types of products. This is especially useful for those days when you’re drowning in ideas and need help sorting out which ones are worth creating.
If you have an email list (even if it’s small) ask for input there, too!
Use the Amazon.com Stream page.
I was thrilled when I stumbled upon this page last year. Finally, a place to browse through random, unique products that you wouldn’t otherwise think to search for. It’s a shopper’s paradise.
You can search by topic (I recommend starting with ‘Fun’). Users create lists of interesting products, and you can ‘like’ certain products to see more like them.
Check out which lists are popular, and which products have been added to those lists. You’ll find tons of products – from the cute, to the utterly bizarre. See if anything inspires you!
Hold a contest.
Use Instagram, email, Twitter, and/or your blog to hold a contest. Ask people to come up with your next product idea, and give out a prize to the person who comes up with the winning idea!
Lastly, a word of caution. Of course, I don’t recommend copying someone else’s work. That’s a big no-no. But I do think it’s fine to find inspiration from an outside perspective, and turn it into something that’s unique and entirely your own.
Your perfect product idea is out there somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. For even more inspiration, you can download my Ultimate Product List below.
Good luck, and happy creating!